David Lee Schmitz

September 11, 1940 ~ December 31, 2020 (age 80)


David Lee Schmitz, age 80, of Wheaton, Minnesota passed away Thursday, December 31, 2020 at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota.

A Public Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, January 9, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Ave Maria Catholic Church in Wheaton with Fr. John Paul Knopik and Fr. Stanley Wieser Celebrants.

Visitation will be held one hour prior to service time at the church. Burial will be in the spring at Wildwood Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers will be his grandsons: Erik Schmitz, Reed Schmitz, Aaron Wilson, Luke Schmitz, Riley Wilson, and Isaac Wilson. Honorary Pallbearers are Randy Schmitz, Scott Schmitz, Paul Ekness, Lee Schmidt, Dean Berneking, and Dale Hammerstein.

While maintaining social distancing guidelines, we are able to gather for visitations and services. The use of face masks by attendees is required. For those who prefer or require continued precautions, a live stream and recording of the service will be available at the bottom of this page.

David Lee Schmitz was born September 11, 1940, to Jacob and Veronica (Cordie) Schmitz. Dave was raised on a farm near Dumont, MN, along with his seven sisters and seven brothers.  He attended St. Peters Catholic School in Dumont, MN, and later went on to Wheaton High School. He enlisted in the United States Navy in November of 1957 and was honorably discharged in September of 1961 with the good conduct medal.

On April 7, 1962, he married Carole Johnson. They had two children, Todd and Monica (Wilson) Schmitz. Affection and pride define Dave’s love for his children and six grandchildren: Erik, Reed, Luke, Aaron, Riley, and Isaac, and his seven great grandchildren: Brenna, Laiken, Gemma, Cannon, Easton, McCoy, and Brewer.

Dave loved following his grandchildren’s sporting events, traveling thousands of miles to watch wrestling, basketball, football, and baseball. He loved to go hunting and fishing with his family and spend time at the family farm by White Rock, SD. Deer hunting was his passion. He enjoyed being a guide to the young kids for hunting and fishing and being a good sportsman. In 2004, Dave received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Traverse County Sportsman’s Club.    

Dave enjoyed saving pennies. At one time he had four (4) fifty-five-gallon barrels full of pennies.  He gave away thousands of pieces of candy and treats to everyone he met along his journey. Dave’s great-grandchildren will be distributing treat bags after his service keeping his spirit alive. He loved helping people and had a big, kind heart. He owned and operated Dave’s Bar & Arcade in Wheaton, MN, for 31 years. Dave had a deep passion for kids, and they loved him, even when they didn’t abide by his rules. He tried to retire in 1996 but needed to stay busy, so he took up odd jobs trimming shrubs, mowing grass, and doing snow removal for people around town.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 58 years, Carole; his children: Todd (Joetta) Schmitz; Monica (Doug) Wilson; grandchildren: Erik (Samantha) Schmitz, Reed (Ginger) Schmitz, Aaron Wilson, Luke (Micah) Schmitz, Riley (Whitney) Wilson, and Isaac Wilson; great-grandchildren: Brenna Jo Wilson, Laiken Paisley Schmitz, Gemma Scarlett Schmitz, Cannon David Schmitz, Easton Thomas Schmitz, McCoy Andrew Schmitz, and Brewer David Schmitz; brother James Schmitz; sister Betty Charlton; sister-in-law Delores Thompson; and brother-in-law Earl Triplett. 

Dave was preceded in death by his parents, Jacob and Elizabeth Schmitz; stepmother Betty Schmitz; mother-in-law and father-in-law Mary and Ruben Johnson; and brothers: Victor, Don, Reinhard, Eugene, Jacob Jr., Vernon; and sisters Valeria, Vivian, Katherine, Laura, Veronica, and Louise.

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Personal Remembrances written by Dave many years ago, and found by his family include:

Individuals who have had the greatest impact on my life are my family, but also Gregg and Ida Powers who believed in me and helped me get started in business.

My greatest accomplishment is knowing I ran the greatest bar and arcade ever in Wheaton! Also, when we purchased some property that turned into a hunters’ haven!

He would like to be remembered for HELPING OTHERS AND HAVING A CARING HEART!

“May the Work I’ve Done Speak For Me.”

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of David Lee Schmitz, please visit our floral store.


January 9, 2021

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Ave Maria Catholic Church (Wheaton, Minnesota)

Mass of Christian Burial
January 9, 2021

2:00 PM
Ave Maria Catholic Church (Wheaton, Minnesota)

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